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A Proposal for ProclamationPrepared for Consideration by the Land Conservation Council





MAY 1984


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Water supply for the township of Glenrowan (population 350) is taken from Fifteen MileCreek. In addition significant contribution to supply comes from a separate catchmentdraining to the service reservoir. The Glenrowan Waterworks Trust is the body responsiblefor supply.

The water resources of the Fifteen Mile Creek Catchment are also used extensively forirrigation and for stock and domestic purposes. The demand for irrigation and the means bywhich the demand could be met from the water resources of Fifteen Mile Creek were thesubject of an inquiry by a Parliamentary Public Works Committee in 1968/69. TheCommittee's report ∗included a recommendation that planning be undertaken for theconstruction of a storage at the Masons Hill site; but the project did not proceed because ofeconomic considerations.

The section of the catchment downstream of Myrrhee has history of European settlementdating back to the 1850's. Since then, extensive development for agriculture has taken placein this section.

Developments within the higher section of the catchment, which is predominantly publicland, have taken place over more recent years. This includes the conversion of some nativeforests to softwood plantations at the very top of the catchment.

The diverse nature of primary production in the catchment ranges from forestry (hardwoodand softwood) to intensive agriculture (hops and potatoes). Mixed farming is common. Alsocereal cropping and fruit growing are minor industries.

There are problems with stream sedimentation particularly at the offtake point on Fifteen MileCreek. These problems appear to be increasing. The Trust's concern over this was outlined ina letter requesting that proclamation of the catchment to the offtake be made.

The catchment is located almost wholly within the Land Conservation Council's North EastStudy Area - District 3. A small section of catchment on the western boundary falls withinDistrict 2, and the catchment to the service reservoir falls within the Murray Valley StudyArea. Council has published final recommendations for District 2 and for District 3 includingthe review undertaken for the Ovens Softwood Plantation Zone. A report has been publishedfor the Murray Valley Study Area and recommendations will follow in due occurs.

Council policy for domestic water supply catchments is that an investigation by the SoilConservation Authority should be made and, where appropriate, the catchment should berecommended for proclamation by Council in order to ensure a uniform procedure for landuse planning within these areas.

This report briefly describes the catchments and recommends their proclamation.

∗ The Parliamentary Public Works Committee on Water Resources of Victoria Enquiry. ProgressReport No. 9 - The Fifteen Mile Creek Victoria 1970.

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Fifteen Mile Creek is the most westerly of the main streams draining to the Ovens River, referFig 1. From the headwaters just south of Toombullup, the narrow catchment extends to thenorth a distance of some 55 km to the offtake at Glenrowan taking in an area of about 310km2. Myrrhee, Greta South and Greta West are rural localities partly of wholly within thecatchment.

Within the catchment to the Broken River is a separate catchment of about 105 ha. Thisdrains to the service reservoir on the lower slopes of Mt Glenrowan.

The catchment falls principally within the Shire of Oxley, with small portions of BenallaShire scattered along the western boundary and a small portion of Mansfield Shire at thesouthern extremity as shown in Fig. 2.

The Fifteen Mile Creek Improvement Trust administrators stream management works withinthe catchment to just south of the Fifteen Mile reek and Middle Creek Junction (refer Fig. 2).

Parts of eleven parishes fall within the catchment as indicated on the catchment, Figure 4.These are the parishes of Dueran East, Glenrowan, Greta, Laceby, Lurg, Myrrhee, Tatong,Toombullup, Toombullup North, Whitfield and Whitfield South.


The catchment is comprised of about 180 km2 of freehold land (58%) and about 130 km2 ofpublic land (42%).

The catchment above Myrrhee is basically public land. Freehold land in this section isconfined to the flats (hop growing) adjacent to Fifteen Mile Creek or occupies the better soilsof the plateau about Toombullup, Archerton or the broad ridges extending south, wherepotatoes, nuts and fruit are grown. Within the central catchment area from Myrrhee to GretaWest the proportion of public land diminishes. There is little downstream of Greta South.Forest remains on some freehold land but grazing (sheep and cattle including dairying) is thepredominant use with cultivation of the creek flats for hop production.

Beyond Greta West to the north, grazing continues to be the predominant use. Cerealcropping is carried out intermittently.

Reserved Forest and unreserved crown land accounts for the bulk of public land in thecatchment. Two grazing licences are current for part of this area and 162 ha is held under animprovement purchase lease. There is extensive but intermittent reserved or unreservedcrown land abutting Fifteen Mile and Middle Creeks, much of which is held under waterfrontage licences. Softwood plantations presently occupy 450 ha in the highlands. Duringthe early establishment phase vigorous regrowth of silver wattle occurs on these areasnecessitating broad-acre control measures. Presently aerial spraying of herbicides is the chiefcontrol measure, with ground spraying and manual clearing also used where appropriate.

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Proposals for progressively increasing the area under softwood are contained in the finalrecommendations for the Ovens Softwood Zone published by the Land Conservation Council.These together with the final recommendations for the North East Study Areas - Districts 2and 3 are shown on Fig. 3 as they relate to the catchment. An edited extract of therecommendations is included in Appendix 1. Recommendations of the Ovens Softwood Zoneare still under consideration by Government. The Drum Top Reference Arearecommendation has been implemented.

Gemstone prospecting within the streams occurs, and recreation activities, particularly touringand camping, in the upper catchment is popular.

The catchment supports a broad range of intensity of land uses and, in respect to water supplycatchment values, complex issues surround some of these uses. Public concern has beenexpressed at the use of chemical sprays for controlling regrowth within the softwoodconversion areas. Similar concern has been raised at the use of sprays and other agriculturalchemicals associated with hop growing; also, cultivation and other activities adjacent tostreams have been questioned, particularly where water frontage licences are issued. Thereare some of the issues that arise from time to time but they have not been investigated in thepresent study. Experimental work concerning the effects of aerial spraying and stream waterquality has been carried out by the Forests Commission.


(a) Topography, Geology, Soils

Six geomorphic zones can be identified within the catchment. The distinguishingfeatures attributed to these by Rowe∗ together with other information are given below.

(i) Plateau lower than 1200 metres - Land in this zone occupies areas chieflyabove 770 metres, straddling boundaries with the adjacent catchments to thesouth, east and west. Maximum elevation within the catchment (1020 m)occurs in this zone. Upper Devonian acid lavas (predominantly rhyolite andrhyodacite), lower carboniferous sediments and remnants of Tertiary basaltare the principal components of a geological complex extending through thezone. Red gradational or brown gradation type soils are the most common.

(ii) Mountains with Plateau - Typical of land in this zone is the Drum Top area,south of Myrrhee, a mountain with a plateau at 770 m elevation from whichlong steep slopes descend to narrow valleys. Upper Devonian acid lavas formthe basement rock for the zone that extends in a NW belt from the Drum Top- Myrrhee area to Ryans Creek locality, taking in Sugarloaf Hill and TheSugarloaf features. Predominant soils are the weakly bleached reddish brownor the friable brown gradational types.

∗ Rowe R. K. "A Study of the Land in the Catchments of the Upper Ovens and King Rivers". SoilConservation Authority Vic. (In press).

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(iii) Mountains - Land with relatively sharp ridges and spurs from which longsteep slopes descend to the narrow valleys of the upper Fifteen Mile andMiddle Creeks. Upper Devonian acid lavas are the major rock types withminor occurrences of Lower Carboniferous sediments and Tertiary (older)basalt. The most common soils are friable brown or reddish browngradational types.

(iv) Hilly Lands with Moderate Slopes - Land between Myrrhee and GretaSouth or straddling the catchment boundary intermittently along the westernside north of Ryans Creek locality. Hills generally have lower crests andridges on Ordovician sedimentary material. Whee the capping of Tertiarybasalt occurs, crests are broader or plateau like. Predominant soils are theweakly bleached reddish brown gradational types and red gradational soils onbasalt. Less common are red duplex or yellowish brown duplex types.

(v) Hilly Land with Gentle Slopes - Land widely distributed throughout thelower catchment as low residual hills, alluvial-colluvial fans or terracesoccurring on a range of geological rock types including Ordoviciansediments, Upper Devonian acid lavas, Lower Carboniferous sediments, andQuartenary alluvium - colluvium. The most common soils are reddish browngradational, and the red duplex types are brown and grey loams on alluvium.

(vi) Alluvial Plains - Land within the flood plain of the present system and itsassociated low terraces. These comprise the creek flats in the upper andcentral catchment areas, but increase in extent as the broad flood plaindevelops north of Greta South. The elevation of the flood plain at the watersupply offtake is 170 m. All alluvium is of Recent origin on which brownand grey loams and yellowish brown gradational type soils predominate.

The service reservoir on the lower slopes of Mt Glenrowan drains to theBroken River catchment. The catchment to the reservoir is within a zonedescribed by Rundle and Rowe∗ as granite ranges and their footslopes: an areaof low rocky peaks and spurs rising above relatively flat remnants of plateauthat are moderately dissected by numbers of small streams. The westernslopes of Mt Glenrowan (575 m), a rocky peak, drain to the reservoir. Thegranitic soils are coarse sandy loams or pale to weakly bleached gradationaltypes.

(b) Climate

The southern and most elevated section of the catchment receives an average annualrainfall of 1500 m. As the catchment extends to the north rain fall decreases, with theaverage for the plain being less than 700 mm per year. High peaks receive occasionalsnowfalls. Rainfall is higher during the winter, with the six wettest months, May toOctober, accounting for 63% to 65% of the annual average. The plains receivemarginally more of the annual rainfall over summer (18.1%) than the highlandsregion (14.2%).

January and February are the hottest months when the mean maximum temperatureranges from 23ºC in the highlands to 31ºC on the plains. Temperatures in July, thecoldest month, range from 7ºC to 13ºC for the respective locations.

∗ Rundle, Allen S. and Rowe R. K. "A Study of the Land in the Catchment of the Broken River" SoilConservation Authority Victoria 1974.

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(c) Vegetation

Approximately half the catchment land still carries native vegetation. Most of thecleared private land carries pasture, although some areas within the highlands havebeen developed for softwood plantations.

The forested upper catchment comprises mixed species forest, with narrow-leafpeppermint the dominant species in association with blue gum, candlebark, brittlegum, broad-leaf peppermint and red stringybark. Messmate stringybark is found onthe relatively "flat" plateau sites of the highlands where deep clays are present. Broadleaf peppermint forest occupies the poorer sites at the higher elevations and becomesincreasingly common in the relatively drier north where it occupies the moister sites.On the hilly land the drier sites mainly carry a long-leaf box type forest in associationwith red stringybark and red box.

Improved pastures have generally been developed on the plains and valley flors northof Myrrhee with native pastures occupying the drier slopes. Some of the originalnative species including red gum, long-leaf box and red box have been retained,mainly about the streams.


(a) Glenrowan Township Supply

The main source of supply is pumped from Fifteen Mile Creek to an adjacent storagebasin; the John Edwin Scott Reservoir, of 20 ML capacity. From there the water israised some 105 m to the town service reservoir (32 ML) located on the lower slopesof Mt Glenrowan for gravity feed to the town.

The catchment to the service reservoir includes an adjacent area from which diversionis made via an open channel. The total contribution from this catchment to townshipsupply in the average year would amount to about 30%.

Approximately 143 connections are serviced by the Trust with an average annualconsumption of some 50 ML.

Bacteriological analysis of water samples from the system is carried out monthly.The long detention period generally provides sufficient times for a naturalimprovement in bacteriological quality and turbidity to occur. However, due torepeatedly high levels of E. Coli being detected in samples, chlorination of the supplyhas been recommended to the Trust.

Additional problems concerning the Trust are: low flows, or the cessation of flow insummer or early autumn; the sporadic occurrence of algal blooms in the servicereservoir necessitating copper sulphate treatment; and the build up of sediment in thestream at the offtake.With a view to augmenting supply during the 1982/3 drought an investigation ofground water supplies beneath the plain, near the offtake, was carried out. Noworthwhile source was found within a depth of 130 m.

(b) Irrigation, Stock and Domestic Supply

The water resources of Fifteen Mile Creek are heavily committed to stock anddomestic and irrigation uses. A total of 1262 ML is provided through irrigation

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permits mainly for the hop growers. In addition to the requirements of riparian userspermits for stock and domestic diversions account for a further 164 ML.

During the period from early November to late January a portion of the surroundingplains area is serviced from Fifteen Mile Creek by diversion at the Greta West weir.The amount and duration of these diversions are regulated on the basis of flow levelsin Fifteen Mile Creek.

Potential Hazards to the Supply

Existing or potential problems of greatest concern affecting the supply are:

(i) erosion of the bed and banks of streams above Greta south and the resultant build upof sediment below this point. Considerable volumes of sediment are transported bythe stream, particularly during the frequent flooding the area experiences, resulting inthe siltation of the weir at Greta West and the Trust's headworks.

(ii) Low or non-existent summer flows.

(iii) Stock access to streams, particularly Fifteen Mile Creek, and animal wastes inagricultural run-off reaching and concentrating in the service reservoir which ispossibly a main contributor to high bacterial numbers.

(iv) The extensive network of unmade roads throughout the catchment which isconsidered to be a major source of silt and turbidity.

(v) Activities associated with hop growing along the Fifteen Mile and Middle Creeks,including many instances of cultivation extending to the banks of the streams or thefrequent use of the creek bed or banks for anchoring trellis supports.

(vi) The possibility that herbicides used to control regrowth during the early years ofsoftwood establishment, or sprays and agricultural chemicals used in farming andhorticulture may find their way to the stream. Relevant FCV standing instructionsand specifications apply to the conduct of aerial applications of pesticides in StateForest areas.

(vii) The intermittent and relatively uncontrolled camping within the forested areasparticularly near streams. This includes campers redirected from the adjacent RyansCreek water supply catchment where camping numbers are to some degree regulated.

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That the Land Conservation Council under the provision of Section 5(1)(b) of the LandConservation Act 1970, recommend to the Governor in Council that the catchment of FifteenMile Creek to the offtake for the Glenrowan Waterworks Trust, and the catchment toGlenrowan Service reservoir, as shown on Plan No. S-1325 (Fig. 4) be proclaimed under theprovisions of Section 22(1) of the Soil Conservation and Land Utilization Act 1958.

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Hardwood Production

F2 - Toombullup (Archerton)

That the area indicated on figure 3 be used for hardwood timber production

And that it remain or become reserved forest or remain as Benalla Waterworks Trust landmanaged in conjunction with the Forests Commission.

The use of land within this catchment is subject to specification by notice or by determinationmade by the Soil Conservation Authority.

Uncommitted Land

K1 - That the land indicated on figure 3 be used to:

(a) Achieve or maintain stability of the land and maintain its usefulness for all possiblefuture uses.

(b) Protect water catchments.

(c) Conserve native fauna and flora

(d) Provider other activities and products that are necessary to achieving, or do notconflict with, the uses above.

and that it be uncommitted land and become unoccupied Crown Land proclaimed as protectedforest.

Existing Plantations

A51 That the present plantations and those areas previously allocated, as shown on figure3, be used for the production of softwood products and the provision of other goods andservices compatible with the primary use, as well as providing opportunities for eduction andrecreation.

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Forest Area

B1 That the areas shown on figure 3 be used for:

(a) The protection of the adjacent area recommended for softwood production.

(b) Conservation of fauna and flora, and preservation of scenic values

(c) Low-intensity hardwood production, recreation, education, forest grazing, honeyproduction and mining, where these activities do not conflict with (b) above.

(d) Catchment protection and water supply.

And that the areas be reserved forest under the provisions of the Forests Act, 1958 and bemanaged by the Forests Commission.


Reference Area

That the area listed below and shown on figure 3:

(a) Be used to maintain natural ecosystems as a reference to which those concerned withstudying land for particular comparative purposes may be permitted to refer,especially when attempting to solve problems arising from the use of land.

(b) Be surrounded by a buffer; that the authority currently managing the recommendedbuffer be responsible for the management of the enclosed reference area; and that thedelineation of the buffer zone be by joint agreement between the managing authorityand the advisory committee.

B2 - Drum Top (440 ha)

Upper Devonian rhyodacite; plateau and steep slopes. Elevation 600-820 m. Approximateannual rainfall 1,520 mm. Open forest II broad-leaf peppermint, open forest III narrow-leafpeppermint. Land system: Drum Top.

To be reserved under section 14 of the Land Act 1958 and be managed by the Department ofCrown Lands and Survey.

Note: The steep escarpment adjoining private property should be managed as a buffer area.

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Hardwood Production

That the area listed below and shown on figure 3 be used to:

(a) maintain the local character and quality of the landscape; and

(b) provide opportunities for passive recreation such as picnicking and walking and thatit be permanently reserved under section 14 of the Land Act 1958 and managed by theDepartment of Crown Lands and Survey.

Expansion of any existing recreational facilities or new development should be permitted onlywhere this does not conflict with the primary aim.

H1 36 ha adjoining allotment 12B of section 3, Parish of Whitfield, but not including theState School plantation. The management authority should permit the use of part ofthis reserve for a deviation of the Benalla Whitfield road if this is eventually required.


That the area (described below and shown on figure 3) be used for organised sports andinformal recreation as permitted by the managing authority.

And that it be permanently reserved under section 14 of the Land Act 1958 and managed bythe Department of Crown Lands and Survey.

M4 Existing recreation reserve


Q1 That the existing powerline easement continue t be used for this purpose.

Uncommitted Land

S1 That the area shown on figure 3 be used to:

(a) Maintain the capability of the land to meet future demands

(b) To produce those goods and services required by the community (such as forestproduce, grazing and military training) that can be supplied without seriouslyreducing the long-term ability of the land to meet future demands.

And that the land be Crown land withheld from sale and be protected forest under theprovisions of the Forest Act 1958.

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Softwood Production

A3 That the areas shown on the map and listed in the schedule below (A5 to A6) couldbe used for softwood plantation establishment in accordance with the guidelines in theserecommendations and the planting order shown in the schedule.

that, should the government decide that public land is to be used for softwood establishment,then areas A5 to A27 be planted in the years 1982 to 1992 inclusive.

and that the areas required for softwood establishment be reserved forest under the provisionsof the Forests Act 1958 and be managed by the Forests Commission.

Land that could be considered for softwood plantation establishment from 1983 to 1992:

A5 Toombullup Plateau (1,350 ha)A6 Drum Top (450 ha)A7 Toombullup (60 ha)A24 Middle Creek Track (95 ha)A27 Handcocks Track (620 ha)

Land that could be considered for softwood production after 1992.

A29 Middle Creek Plateau (630 ha)A37 Sugarloaf (110 ha)A38 Drum Top Road (94 ha)A39 Myrrhee (225 ha)A41 (Ryans Creek (60 ha)A46 Spring Creek (155 ha)